Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to prepare an exhortation/message

By Hayley Boud

1. Pray for God’s help

2. Choose a topic. I might choose a verse or a topic depending on what I feel God directing me, or what my feeling is. I have chosen verses in the past such as I Cor 13 and II Tim 3. I have chosen topics in the past such as “how to pray”.

3. Even if I choose a topic, my first thing to do after that will be to match that topic with a verse which can be done by memory, using the concordance or Bible software. Once I have a verse, the steps continue.

So carrying on with my example of prayer, I would perhaps choose this verse:
New American Standard, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish muchJames 5:16c

4. I write down what comes to my mind immediately. I write down any verses that pop into my memory and I continue to ask God for reminders. At this stage I’m looking at the verse as a whole sentence.

For me, the first thing that I thought about from this verse is “righteous man” and I remember that Noah was a righteous man. So I look up the verse in Genesis 6:9 and it says that Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time and walked with God. So I straight away I have the idea that to be righteous we need to be blameless in front of God and walk with Him.

5. I re-write the verse and put it in a different order just to get another feel for the verse.
E.g. Prayer that is effective coming from someone who is righteous will accomplish a lot.

6. I ask myself questions that I hope will be answered as I continue to study

i. What does it mean to accomplish a lot?
ii. What does it mean to have effective prayer?
iii. What does it mean to be righteous?

7. I read different versions of the verse from different Bible translations to see if there are any differences.

NKJ: the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much
KJ: the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much

From there we can see that righteous and effective remain the same. But there is a new word, “fervent” which wasn’t there in my original version. This is significant I believe. Also, there is the word “avail” instead of “accomplish”.

8. I look these words up in the dictionary

Effective: something that works well, that produces the intended result
Fervent: very enthusiastic and sincere, especially about something you believe in or support
Prayer: speaking with God
Righteous: Good or correct according to standards set by religion
Accomplish: to succeed in doing something especially something you’ve been trying to do for a long period of time
Avail: to obtain something

9. I look the individual words up in the Greek dictionary

Effective: to be active and energetic, to prove oneself strong. Inspired by Holy Spirit
Prayer: supplication for something specific
Righteous: living according to laws set by God or man in society. A righteous person is one who is justified by faith and shows his faith by his works. E.g. Noah
Accomplish: to be strong, to be of use, to be able, to have power

10. I make it applicable

If I want my prayers to be strong, to be of use, to have power and I want to obtain something from these prayers then I need my prayers to be effective. Effective means I need my prayers to work well and to produce the intended result. In order for them to be effective, I need my prayers to be active, energetic and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I should ask for the Holy Spirit to help me to pray and I should pray actively, energetically, not like someone who is bored or tired.

For our prayers to be effective and to accomplish the intended result, we need to pray with fervour:
- Very enthusiastically – pray like you mean it
- Sincerely – pray like you care. E.g. the intercessory prayer meeting, we have to put ourselves in other’s shoes
- We have to pray what we believe in or support – it is pointless to pray if we don’t support the prayer topic because we will have no faith.

In order for our prayers to be successful and to achieve the desired result, we have to righteous:
- Good or correct according to the standards set in the Word of God. Therefore we need to know the Word of God and to meditate on the Word, we need to compare ourselves, our actions and thoughts to the Word and if we are wrong somewhere we have to change. If not, our prayers will not achieve the desired result.